Rotating Categories Rewards Credit Cards

Rotating Categories Rewards Credit Cards

Rotating Categories Rewards Credit Cards
Rotating Categories Rewards Credit Cards

Credit cards that offer rotating bonus categories can provide opportunity to earn acceleratedcashback or points in spending areas that change each quarter. By aligning your purchases with categories, you maximize rewards.

In this guide, we’ll explore popular rotating category rewards cards from issuers like Chase, Citi, Bank of America, and Discover. Learn how to use these cards strategically as part of your wallet to increase your savings over time.

How Rotating Category Cards Work

Rotating category cards offer:

  • Bonus rewards like 5% cashback or 5X points in categories that change quarterly
  • Common categories include gas, groceries, dining, travel, online shopping, etc
  • Must activate new quarters manually in your account
  • Unlimited or capped earning amounts in the bonus categories
  • 1% or 1X on non-bonus purchases

Let’s look at some of the top rotating category cards in more detail.

Chase Freedom Flex


  • 5% cashback in quarterly bonus categories
  • 5% cashback on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
  • 3% cashback at restaurants, drugstores, and dining
  • 1% back on all other spending

Quarterly Categories:

  • Q1 2023 – Grocery stores, gym/fitness, select streaming services, Starbucks
  • Categories change each quarter and must be activated

Other Perks:

  • $200 signup bonus after $500 spend in 3 months
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases

With no annual fee, the Chase Freedom Flex provides great 5% bonus opportunities.

Citi Custom Cash Card


  • 5% cashback in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle (up to $500, then 1%)
  • 5% categories include groceries, gas stations, restaurants, Amazon purchases, and more
  • 1% back on other purchases
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Other Perks:

  • $200 signup bonus after $750 spend in 3 months
  • 0% Intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months

Choose one category each billing cycle with the Citi Custom Cash card to maximize 5% rewards.

U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature


  • 5% cashback on your first $2,000 in combined quarterly category spending
  • 2% cashback on another category like grocery stores, gas stations, or restaurants
  • Categories include department stores, electronics, furniture, sporting goods, and more
  • 1% back on other eligible purchases

Other Perks:

  • $200 signup bonus after $1,000 spend in 3 months
  • 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases

U.S. Bank’s deep category list makes it easy to align bonus spending each quarter.

Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards


  • 3% cashback in one category you choose monthly like online shopping, dining, travel, etc
  • 2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs
  • 1% back on other purchases

Other Perks:

  • $200 signup bonus after $1,000 spend in 3 months
  • 0% APR for 15 months on purchases

Bank of America’s tiered bonuses provide flexibility in customizing categories monthly.

Discover it Cash Back


  • 5% cashback in quarterly rotating categories on up to $1,500 in purchases
  • 1% back on other purchases

Quarter 1 2023 Categories:

  • Grocery stores, Walgreens, and CVS
  • Must activate each quarter

Other Perks:

  • Cashback Match – Discover will match all the cash back earned at the end of your first year
  • $200 signup bonus after $1,000 spend in 3 months

Discover’s cashback match effectually doubles your first year rewards.

Maximizing Rotating Category Cards

Follow these tips to maximize value from rotating category credit cards:

  • Mark your calendar with reminders to activate new quarters. Missing activation results in missing out on 5% rewards.
  • Review upcoming quarters early and plan spending to align with bonus categories like gas or online shopping.
  • When you activate a quarter, go through your last 3 months of statements to identify spending that would have qualified for 5% back. Look for recurring patterns in grocery, dining, etc.
  • Be cautious of category caps that limit 5% rewards to a spending threshold like $1,500 per quarter.
  • Consider opening more than one rotating card to extend bonus category opportunities.
  • Stack rewards by shopping through cashback portals in addition to your credit card bonuses.
See also  Grocery Rewards Credit Card Signup Bonuses

Are Rotating Category Cards Right for You?

Rotating category rewards cards make the most sense for people who:

  • Like chasing quarterly bonuses across different spending types
  • Are very organized and can remember to activate new categories on time
  • Have categories with significant spending like gas, groceries, Amazon, etc
  • Open retailer credit cards for one-quarter bonuses then cancel
  • Follow a household budget that aligns with bonus categories frequently

However, those who want simplicity or earn consistent rewards across all purchases may prefer a flat-rate cashback card instead. But used strategically, rotating category bonuses can increase your savings substantially over time.

Closing Thoughts on Rotating Category Cards

The right rotating category card matched to your spending habits allows you to maximize rewards every quarter. Just be sure to activate new bonuses, track category caps, and monitor your earnings routinely.

While chasing quarterly categories requires more effort than flat-rate cash back cards, the opportunity for accelerated earnings makes up for it.

You have the potential to earn upwards of an extra $500 or more per year by focusing spending in key 5% rewards categories each quarter. But make sure to set calendar alerts so you never miss out by forgetting to activate new bonus opportunities.

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